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Press Release

Milwaukee Woman Convicted of Unlawfully Possessing and Transferring a Firearm that was later recovered from a Convicted Felon and Shooting Suspect

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Wisconsin

United States Attorney Matthew D. Krueger of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, announced that after a court trial on January 14, 2020, U.S. District Judge JP Stadtmueller found Ayse E. Duncan (age: 32) guilty of Possessing a Firearm as an Unlawful User of Controlled Substances and Transferring a Firearm to an Unlawful User of Controlled Substances, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 922(d)(3) & (g)(3). Sentencing is scheduled for April 10, 2020. On each count, Duncan faces maximum penalties of ten years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years’ supervised release.

According to the trial evidence, Duncan bought a 9-mm pistol on December 9, 2018, from a federally licensed firearms dealer at a gun show in Waukesha, Wisconsin. At the time, Duncan was an unlawful user of crack cocaine, and was therefore prohibited under federal law from possessing a firearm. In completing the required ATF Form 4473 for the sale, Duncan falsely answered “no” when asked if she was an unlawful user of a controlled substance. Thereafter, in January 2019, Duncan transferred the pistol to her then-boyfriend, knowing that he was an unlawful user of crack cocaine and that he intended to give the pistol to the couple’s drug dealer to satisfy their drug debt. Duncan later learned from her boyfriend that he had, in fact, transferred the pistol to the drug dealer. Duncan’s boyfriend subsequently died from a drug overdose on August 7, 2019.

On August 14, 2019, Milwaukee police officers responded to a report of gunfire that was detected by the city’s automated ShotSpotter system. Upon arrival in the area, officers chased the suspected shooter as he ran away with a pistol in his hand. The suspect refused officers’ commands to drop the gun and turned toward them, raising the pistol. An officer reacted by firing at the suspect, who was struck and fell to the ground. The suspect was successfully treated for his injuries and is charged in Milwaukee County Circuit Court from the incident. The pistol recovered from the suspect was the same 9-mm pistol that Duncan had unlawfully purchased and transferred months earlier.

This case was prosecuted under the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative. Project Safe Neighborhoods is a federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. The Project Safe Neighborhoods’ strategy brings together all levels of law enforcement and community resources to reduce violent crime and improve the quality of life in all our neighborhoods.

This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws.  Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see

This case was investigated by the Milwaukee Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Tim Funnell and Farris Martini.

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For Additional Information Contact:

Public Information Officer Kenneth Gales 414-297-1700

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Updated January 16, 2020